AFTAH Protests Willow Creek’s Lack of Biblical Leadership in Breaking with Ex-Gay Ministry

Friday, August 12th, 2011
A man holds a sign with the message, “Is Willow Creek Qualified to Lead” as part of AFTAH’s sign vigil outside Willow Creek Community Church’s campus during their two-day “Global Leadership Summit.” We will continue to ask why a Christian church would ever honor people who use their leadership gifts (given by God) to advance ungodly agendas. In 2009, a key Leadership Summit speaker was former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who used his “leadership” tenure to aggressively push homosexuality in the name of civil rights in the U.K.

Dear Readers, this story is fluid. AFTAH has been having serious web issues — in part due to hacking — so please pardon the delay in posting this item. Here is the press release on Willow Creek that AFTAH sent out yesterday via Christian Newswire. At our small vigil outside Willow Creek yesterday morning, we met WCCC spokesman Susan Delay, who assured me  (contradicting my statement below) that Willow Creek’s break with Exodus International in 2009 had nothing whatsoever to Willow Creek’s meeting with the homosexual activist group Soulforce the previous year. Delay said that Willow senior pastor Bill Hybels soon would be issuing a statement on the church’s approach toward homosexuality.

I informed Ms. Delay that the concerns with Willow go far beyond the Soulforce incident, and raised the 2009 Leadership Summit’s featuring of former Britich Prime Minister Tony Blair — who championed homosexuality during his “leadership” tenure in the U.K. Certainly we continue to question why a Christian church — or a related church-sponsored leadership ministry — would honor a man (and men) who used their executive gifts to advance explicitly ANTI-BIBLICAL agendas in the culture. The story goes far beyond Willow Creek to the purpose of Christians as defenders of God’s unchanging Truth (as opposed to subjective, man-centered “truths”) in a sin-soaked world.

One more thing: nothing here takes away from the important work that Willow Creek Community Church does in the community through its many ministries. I spoke to two friends in Illinois — a man and a woman — who have been deeply blessed by acts of Christian charity carried out through the church’s giving programs. AFTAH focuses on homosexuality, in this case Christian fidelity to politically incorrect Scriptural teaching: we believe that steadfast honoring of biblical truth (no matter the cost) — combined with selfless love — defines the believer’s calling. We’ll keep you updated. — Peter LaBarbera,


AFTAH Protests Willow Creek’s Lack of Biblical Leadership in Breaking with Ex-Gay Ministry

August 11, 2011

Contact: Peter LaBarbera: 630-717-7631;

S. BARRINGTON, Illinois — Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) President Peter LaBarbera announced a peaceful sign vigil today and tomorrow outside Willow Creek Community Church—to protest the mega-church’s puzzling disassociation from a Christian ministry that helps men and women overcome unwanted homosexual desires.

The Americans For Truth vigil targets Willow Creek’s annual “Global Leadership Summit” – which draws thousands of Christians annually to the church’s campus in Barrington, Illinois. AFTAH’s banner message – “Is Willow Creek Qualified to Lead?” – will greet Summit attendees Aug. 11-12. That and other messages such as “Willow Creek Caves to Gay Activist Pressure,” will highlight the influential mega-church’s failure to boldly proclaim the Gospel’s life-changing truth on the homosexual issue.

“Christians across the nation were stunned to learn that Willow Creek had abandoned its friendly working relationship with Exodus International, the world’s largest ‘ex-gay’ ministry,” LaBarbera said. “Worse, the break came in 2009, shortly after Willow Creek’s leaders met with Soulforce, a homosexual activist group. Soulforce activists target mega-churches and Christian ministries like Focus on the Family — demanding a (politicized) “dialogue” even as they accuse leaders who defend the Bible’s clear, historic prohibition of homosexuality of “spiritual violence.”

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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Should Christian Leaders Meet with Soulforce? In Some Cases, YES!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

mel_white_gary_nixon.jpgHomosexual activist Mel White and his group Soulforce seek to combat “religious homophobia” (read: overturn the Christian Church’s historic understanding that homosexual acts are sinful). Michael Brown argues in the Point/Counterpoint essay below that church meetings with Soulforce and other homosexual activists can be productive, partly by showing that Christians can “talk civilly with those who differ with us.”

This is a Point/Counterpoint debate on the question of whether Willow Creek Community Church (in South Barrington, Illinois) and other mega-churches should have met with the pro-homosexual activist group Soulforce, which aims to “cut off homophobia at its source – religious bigotry.” Our friend Dr. Michael Brown argues that such meetings can be used — with proper discernment — for Christian outreach and to dispel false notions that the Church harbors a “phobia” toward homosexuals. Click here for Sonja Dalton’s commentary expressing the opposite point of view: “Willow Creek Church Should Not Have Met with Soulforce.”

We will allow each writer to respond to the other’s arguments, and we welcome input from our readers, too; write us at (Sorry, but we’re not interested in publishing pro-homosexuality pieces — there are plenty of “gay” websites for that.) You may write Brown or Dalton through the AFTAH website or by e-mailing


dr_michael_brown.jpgBy Michael L. Brown, Ph.D.

Point/Counterpoint [click HERE for an opposing viewpoint by Sonja Dalton]

There are a number of good reasons why Christian leaders have refused to meet with Soulforce delegations, including:

  1. Soulforce leaders use these meetings for their own purposes, putting their particular spin on the meeting for the media;
  2. Soulforce sets its own agenda, and Christian leaders are under no obligation to go along with that agenda;
  3. Since the Soulforce leaders claim to be Christians, welcoming them could be in violation of injunctions such as 1 Cor 5:9-13 and 2 John 10-11;
  4. Despite the ongoing requests for dialogue, it can be doubted whether Soulforce is truly interested in hearing what our side has to say;
  5. We are damned if we do meet and damned if we don’t, since if we do meet, we are accused of softening our stance against homosexual practice; if we don’t meet, we are painted as bigots. Why then even entertain Soulforce’s request to meet?

In light of such concerns, many Christian leaders have declined to meet with Soulforce delegations, and I certainly respect their decisions. Indeed, this is often the path of wisdom. It can be argued, however, that under certain circumstances, meetings with Soulforce leaders can be biblically based as well as used for positive gospel purposes.

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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Willow Creek Church Should Not Have Met with Soulforce

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

soulforce-ramus-ford_.bmpThis lesbian couple traveling with Soulforce — the “Rasmus-Ford family” — says, “God created us [as lesbians] exactly as we are with purpose and intention.” Should mega-churches like Willow Creek have agreed to meet with a homosexual activist group whose goal is to “cut off homophobia at its source – religious bigotry”? Sonja Dalton (below) says NO and Michael Brown says YES (under certain conditions).

This is a Point/Counterpoint on the question of whether Willow Creek Community Church (in South Barrington, Illinois) and other mega-churches should have met with the pro-homosexual activist group Soulforce, which aims to “cut off homophobia at its source – religious bigotry.” Below is a commentary by my good friend Sonja Dalton, who argues AGAINST such meetings. Click HERE to read an opposing column by Dr. Michael Brown, who says they can be used — with proper discernment — for Christian outreach.

We will allow each writer to respond to the other’s arguments, and welcome input from our readers, too; write us at (Sorry, but we’re not interested in publishing pro-homosexuality pieces — there are plenty of “gay” websites for that.) Footnotes are at bottom:


Willow Creek Church Should Not Have Met with Soulforce

Point/Counterpoint [to read Michael Brown’s opposing column, click HERE]

By Sonja Dalton

A fundamental question has been lost amid the sensation over the recent meeting between Willow Creek leadership and pro-homosexuality activists affiliated with the group Soulforce:

Did Pastor Bill Hybels have Biblical authority to welcome, meet with, and dine with Jay Bakker and Soulforce?

First, let’s examine who these Willow Creek “guests” [1] were…

jay_bakker_small2.jpgJay Bakker (right) is the cigarette-puffing, tattooed, punk-rocker son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker; he’s the star of the Sundance Channel series “One Punk Under God” and “pastor” of the “gay”-affirming Revolution NYC [2]. He is quoted as having said:

“…I felt like God spoke to my heart and said ‘[homosexuality] is not a sin.’” [3]

(You might want to pencil that into your Bible, somewhere near Leviticus 18:22 or I Corinthians 6:9-11. Or not.)

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Americans For Truth Condemns Soulforce’s Politicized ‘Dialogue’ with Mega-Churches

Friday, May 9th, 2008

mel_white_gary_nixon.jpgjoel-osteen.jpg Will Soulforce founder and homosexual activist Mel White, pictured here with lover Gary Nixon, accuse Joel Osteen (right) of “spiritual violence” if Osteen’s Lakewood Church chooses not to enter into a “dialogue” over homosexuality?

Folks, the irony of this latest Soulforce gimmick is that most of these mega-church pastors (Harry Jackson being the key exception) are not known for confronting the homosexual agenda. For example, Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, did not even participate in the Protect Marriage Illinois ( referendum campaign in 2006. But Soulforce’s activism may force them to take a more public stand on this seeming ‘special sin’ that has its own well-funded and extremely powerful lobby. Targeted churches with contact pages are listed below the press release. — Peter LaBarbera,


News Release

Americans For Truth

May 9, 2008

Contact: Peter LaBarbera: 630-717-7631;

Americans For Truth Condemns Soulforce’s Politicized ‘Dialogue’ with Mega-Churches

NAPERVILLE, Illinois — Americans For Truth President Peter LaBarbera today accused the homosexual activist group Soulforce of “politicizing Sunday worship” to further its anti-biblical agenda — by calling for (quasi-forced) “dialogue’ with mega-churches like Joel Osteen’s and Rick Warren’s “at the point of a potential protest.”

Soulforce is leading an activist event called the “American Family Outing” in which they seek “peaceful dialogue” (on their terms) with Lakewood and five other mega-churches across the country each Sunday between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. This Sunday they are targeting Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston.

LaBarbera issued the following statement on Soulforce’s American Family Outing gimmick:

“In a letter to Lakewood Church, Soulforce claims that its proposed ‘dialogue’ is designed to ‘lift up the conversation about faith, family and homosexuality to a national level and bring a new tenor of respect to the issue.’ The truth is that Soulforce is trying to convince Bible-believing churches that their Scriptural teachings against this particular sexual sin are wrong.

“You don’t achieve good-faith dialogue by announcing that you will be arriving at a church on a specified Sunday with ‘several dozen’ homosexual-led families. In the same way, Soulforce sent homosexual activists demanding ‘dialogue’ to Christian colleges: those that refused were hit with media-hyped protests.

“It is no more appropriate to ‘dialogue’ over homosexuality than it is to dialogue over any other sin. What if a traveling band of incest advocates – or perhaps a Gossipers’ Task Force — announced that it would be arriving at Lakewood Church on Mother’s Day demanding ‘dialogue’ about their special interest? This is pro-‘gay’ political theater, nothing more.

“Soulforce and its allies (including Peggy Campolo, wife of Tony Campolo) claim they are ‘deeply committed to respect for the authority of Biblical teachings.’ That is not true, as evidenced by Soulforce’s twisting of Scripture to advance the notion that homosexual behavior is acceptable. Soulforce founder Mel White has recklessly accused Christian pro-family leaders who defend Biblical orthodoxy of ‘spiritual violence’ –– playing to the vicious caricature of traditionalists as violent ‘homophobes.’

“Christians don’t negotiate with God over homosexuality or any sin. Rather, we reach out with truth in love to people with the hopeful Gospel message that God can help them overcome any sin, including homosexuality, through faith in Jesus Christ.”


Lakewood Church, Houston, TX (Rev. Joel Osteen)

The Potter’s House, Dallas, TX (Bishop T.D. Jakes)

Hope Christian Church, Beltsville, MD (Bishop Harry Jackson)

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, GA (Bishop Eddie Long):

Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL (Rev. Bill Hybels):
(write to

Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA (Dr. Rick Warren): (write to

Fitting for Halloween: Truly Scaaary Pro-“Gay” Quotes

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

All emphasis is added by Americans For Truth. The quotes, though frightening, are real but not unexpected from a movement that calls itself “Queer.” – Peter LaBarbera

No Cartoons Poking Fun at Homosexuality! … Says GLAAD Thought Police


“The New York Post does it again in its October 27 edition. Two days after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that discrimination against same-sex couples violates that state’s equal protection requirement, the New York Post published a cartoon by Sean Delonas depicting a man carrying a sheep wearing a bridal veil to a “New Jersey Marriage Licenses” window.

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Columbus, OH 43234

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